Today, I often find myself believing in the first thing I read or hear about a certain topic. Take, for instance, video games. Have you ever heard a parent tell his child, “You shouldn’t be playing so many video games. Your mind is going to become mush?” Being an avid fan of video games, I have never agreed with this opinion. Throughout my childhood, and college life, I have clocked many hours playing video games; however, I have never once let them take over my life or let my mind go to “mush.” I have sustained a constant 3.4GPA at Bucknell University and successfully juggled my duties as a student, President of the Club Hockey team, and fraternity member. Although this only represents my opinion about video games, it seems as though recent research supports my argument that video games do not make one’s brain “mush.”
Earlier this year, The University of Glasgow released a research study about how the consumption of video games and television changes the behaviors of young children. They concluded that a steady diet of video games doesn’t result in significantly altered behavior. This study pulled data from Great Britain’s ten-year Millennium Cohort Study and looked at how “conduct problems, emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, hyperactivity/inattention and prosocial behavior” were changed by the amount of television or video games a child engaged with.
Although television is widely regarded to as being more harmless than playing videogames, the Glasgow study provided evidence that watching television for three hours or more on a daily basis at five years old caused an increase of conduct problems between the ages of five and seven years old. In terms of video games, no corollary effect was found. In fact, the American Psychologist believes that playing strategic video games actually both improves learning, health and social skills, and strengthens a range of cognitive abilities including problem solving, reasoning, memory and perception.
Although these studies probably aren’t what parents want to hear, they will be pleased to know that there are some setbacks to video games. One example is children becoming less able to distinguish between fact and fiction. After reading these research articles, I definitely believe that playing video games has its pros and cons; however, one must be conscious of the amount of time spent playing games. I grew up in a family that promoted outdoor activities. I played hockey, baseball, golf, and soccer my entire life. I also dedicated a great amount of time to my studies and social life. The only time of the day that I really play video games at all is at night. In order for video games to be a truly enjoyable part of one’s life, they must be placed at an appropriate rank in one’s daily agenda.